Feline skin infections come in a variety
of forms. They can be caused by bacteria or fungal organisms.
Some infections affect only the superficial layers of skin; others spread
to deeper tissues as well, but most infections are caused by an
overgrowth of the normal microorganisms that are present on a cat's
skin. Anything that disrupts the balance between the skin's
protective measures and its resident bacterial and fungal populations
can produce a skin infection. Possible underlying problems include:
- hormonal imbalances (e.g.,
- external parasites
- skin trauma
Signs of a Skin Infection
The symptoms typically associated with
a skin infection are:
- hair loss
- pus-filled "pimples"
- firm, raised spots in the
- red, inflamed skin
- skin darkening
If the infection involves the skin's
deeper layers or spreads elsewhere in the body, a cat may lose her appetite,
become lethargic, develop a fever, be in pain and have open wounds that
If you suspect that your cat has a
skin infection but it is limited to a small portion of her body and
she acts like she feels fine, you can try treating it at home before
calling your veterinarian. First, shave the hair away from the
affected area with a pair of electric clippers. Next, thoroughly
clean the infected skin with an antiseptic and then apply a topical
antibiotic. If over
a few days your cat's condition fails to improve, call your vet.
Your vet may suspect that your cat
has a skin infection based on a physical exam, but he or she will need
to run a few tests to rule out other skin diseases that cause similar
symptoms and to determine what microorganisms are involved if an infection
is diagnosed. Skin scrapes to look for parasites, fungal cultures
to rule out ringworm and cytological preparations to get an idea of
the type and number of bacteria and yeast on the skin are all routine.
Based on the results of these tests,
your veterinarian may prescribe one or more of the following treatments:
Severe skin infections often have to
be treated for several weeks or even longer before they are completely
eradicated. A good rule of thumb is to continue treatment for
at least a week after your cat's condition has completely returned
to normal. If the skin infection fails to resolve as expected
or becomes a reoccurring problem, your veterinarian will need to search
for an underlying cause.
The above is provided for information purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition.
This information does not cover all possible variables, conditions, reactions, or risks relating to any topic, medication, or product and should not
be considered complete. Certain product or medications may have risks and you should always consult your local veterinarian concerning the treatment of
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